The Morrison Government will commit to deliver a new self-propelled howitzer artillery system for the Australian Army, to be built and maintained in Geelong, creating up to 350 jobs.
“We will acquire 30 self-propelled howitzers and their supporting systems, and we will build them and maintain them in Geelong, drawing on the large manufacturing skills base in the region,” the Prime Minister said.
“By reviving this project – which was cancelled under Labor – we will deliver the Army the capability it needs. By building it in Australia, we will create up to 350 jobs as part of growing our defence industry across the nation.”
“This important Defence capability project was one of the casualties of Labor’s budget mismanagement when they were last in government. Under my Government, defence capability is back on track and Australia’s defence industry is growing, creating a highlyskilled workforce,” the Prime Minister said.
Minister for Defence Industry, Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds CSC, said; “We will revive the self-propelled artillery project by bringing forward the Defence acquisition project known as ‘Protected Mobile Fires’ to address the capability gap left by Labor.”
“We will utilise the outcomes of the tender process cancelled by Labor and the Coalition’s Smart Buyer framework, as the starting point of an accelerated approval process. This will ensure that an Australian prime contractor can deliver a world-class platform with work beginning in Geelong before the end of 2022-23.”
“Labor’s decision to cancel this project in 2012 – after the tender process had been run – ruined our reputation with industry and international partners, cost millions of dollars, and left our Army personnel without key equipment.”
Labor failed the Australian Defence Force, failed our defence industry, and failed in keeping Defence spending at the required levels.
The Morrison Government is now turning these failures around. Strong economic management has meant we can restore defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP.
Federal Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson MP, welcomed the announcement, saying; “This massive new investment is good news for manufacturing in our region. I am so proud that yet again my strong advocacy has resulted in this hugely significant announcement for Corangamite and Geelong.”
“Manufacturing is so important – not just for local job creation and investment, but for the future economic prosperity of our region,” Ms Henderson said.
The project will also provide valuable investment in Australia’s local defence industry, creating hundreds of jobs in Geelong, with the long-term potential to expand the industry through exports to our international partners.
This programme will significantly improve the force protection capability of Army, giving the ability to rapidly engage land targets at long ranges with a high degree of precision, to neutralise threats before they can deliver lethal effects on friendly forces.
The choice in defence industry is clear: between a strong Morrison Government that delivers for our Australian Defence Force and our national security, or a weak Labor government that slashes Defence spending and cancels critical projects.